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Collin County Wedding Planner Sentenced For COVID Relief Fraud

SHERMAN, Texas – The Eastern District of Texas sentenced a Murphy man to federal prison for perpetrating a scheme to obtain more than $3.3 million fraudulently. It was in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to Nicholas Ganjei, Acting U.S. Attorney and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Fahad Shah, 45, pleaded guilty on May 19, 2021, to wire fraud and was sentenced to 31 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III.

“Stealing limited COVID relief funds is the very definition of stealing from the less fortunate,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “Every dollar that was stolen and extravagantly spent in this case was one less dollar that went to a struggling business scrambling to meet its payroll obligations to employees. The Department of Justice and its partners will do everything in their power to investigate and prosecute those that would deign to steal these limited funds and stall national recovery efforts.”

According to court documents, Shah sought approximately $3.3 million in PPP funds by claiming that his family’s business, WBF Weddings by Farah Inc. (WBF), employed more than 100 individuals and paid millions of dollars in compensation to those employees. In actuality, WBF had no employees aside from Shah and his wife. Based on Shah’s false representations and forged documents, an SBA-approved lender provided over $1.5 million in PPP loan funds to Shah. Shah used the funds for personal gain contrary to the program’s terms. He paid off his home mortgage and purchased two Teslas and a Mercedes, among other items.

Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei for the Eastern District of Texas, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the U.S. Small Business Administration–Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Catherine Huber of the Federal Housing Finance Agency–Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), Inspector General Jay N. Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation–Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Christopher J. Altemus, Jr., of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Dallas Field Office, and Inspector General J. Russell George of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) made the announcement.

The SBA-OIG, FHFA-OIG, FDIC-OIG, IRS-CI, and TIGTA investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Bob Wells of the Eastern District of Texas and Trial Attorneys Louis Manzo and Della Sentilles of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.